Looking Ahead

Even though I just recently got home from my last big road trip, my mind is already beginning to wander and think about what is next for the Golf Nomad in 2012.

I think what’s driving me is the fact that I am now four measly states away from the official halfway mark! It’s so close I can taste it, so I would love to be at 25 by the end of this year. The tricky thing is that I’ve now covered pretty much all the western half of the US that I can drive to, so now I have to start flying out to general “regions” and playing multiple states in different parts of the country.

So I am beginning to look at late summer (August/September) at possible dates and destinations for my next trip. There are a couple of criteria I am considering, which is helping me narrow down my choices… (1) It has to be a four-state trip—exactly—just because it will feel right to say I am officially halfway. (2) For budgetary reasons, it can’t be one of the more expensive options. I’ll have to save up my pennies and save some of the best destinations (Whistling Straits, Pinehurst, Greenbrier, Bethpage) for later on.

Over the past year, I’ve pretty much broken down the states into “groupings” that are more or less set in my mind. So based on my criteria and my groupings, I’ve boiled it down to three different options.

1. INDIANA, OHIO, KENTUCKY and TENNESSEE

This is an area of the country I’ve never been to, so that makes it interesting. And in my research so far, I’ve found a number of great-looking courses in all of these states. Some notable courses I’d try to play would be The Hermitage in TN, Old Silo in KY, Longaberger in OH and Brickyard Crossing in IN (which features four holes inside the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway “Brickyard” racetrack).

2. MINNESOTA, IOWA, SOUTH DAKOTA and NORTH DAKOTA

This is one of the trips that will have to be done eventually, even though it doesn’t sound like the most exciting “destination” for a golf trip. That said, I’ve uncovered some nice looking courses in these states (especially Minnesota—I think I’ll love the courses up there amongst the lakes), so I think I would find plenty of enjoyment in this region. Some notable courses I’m looking at are Grand View in MN, The Harvester in IA, Red Rock in SD and Hawktree in ND.

3. MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY and DELAWARE

This would seem like the most appealing destination with the most stuff to see when I am not on a golf course. Several ballparks I could potentially visit (Camden Yards especially). Never been to the Jersey/Delaware shore, so that could be interesting. Probably the most expensive of these three choices, though. Notable courses include Atlantic City Country Club in NJ, Bulle Rock in MD, Bayside in DE and Glen Mills in PA. I would also probably try and play East Potomac Park in the District of Columbia. Not officially a state, but I’d like to play there as part of this 50-state goal. Fitting this is only a 9-hole course, so it’s kind of perfect.

Right now, I am leaning toward the first option, but I have already started mapping out the routes and basic plans for all three. We’ll see as the summer goes on and dates/plans start coming together. I’ll keep you posted.

Looking ahead more short-term, I have another Greenskeeper.org event coming up next weekend at one of my favorite SoCal courses: Mt. Woodson down in Ramona. Love that course and it’s been many years since I’ve played there, so looking forward to playing the course again and meeting some more new GKers.

In June, I will probably be taking another Central Coast trip. I bought a GroupGolfer.com voucher for unlimited play at Blacklake in Nipomo, so I need to use it before the end of the month. I also just bought a voucher on UnderPar.com for two rounds at La Quinta/PGA West, so I will be looking to play the La Quinta Mountain Course (finally!!!) and the PGA West Nicklaus course sometime this summer, since those are the two I haven’t played in that resort.

Plenty of exciting things to come, so I’ll keep teeing it up and keep writing about all my adventures here.

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